Last week I was at the park with my kids and it was turning out to be a perfect day. The weather was, as it always is in San Diego, beautiful. We like to go out on long adventures and this was no different. We headed to Liberty Station with the double Bob and golden retriever along for the ride and spend a good 4 hours doing everything from morning coffee and chocolate milk at the foundation to lunch several hours later by the playground. Everything and nothing in particular made this Friday just a little extra special.
The stars aligned and Cal (my 13 month old) feel asleep in the stroller leaving me over an hour to really give Summer my undivided attention. We started a game of hide and seek and quickly several kids wanted to join in. A great time was being had by all and as we are wrapping up another Mom comes up to me and starts chatting. As she was getting ready to leave she says to me, “I don’t usually do this….I think you are really great at what you do, what would it take for you to come work for me.” I’m a little surprised because I don’t really remember ever discussing fashion or marketing with her and quickly am racking my brain at how she might know my profession. I try to shift the conversation by letting her know that I have all the work I can handle on my plate with these two. But again she is asking me, “What would it take for you to make a change, I have had the hardest time finding a Nanny I like.” Wait what….I’m not their Nanny, I am their Mom!
Parent Like You Are Getting Paid To Do It
Completely surprised that I was mistaken for the Nanny (my son looks like my Mini Me) I quickly assessed the situation. I’m wearing the right clothes; Lululemon crops, tank and cross trainers. I have the right amount of make-up on; I got ready in the 4 red lights between the house and the park. My hair shows the right amount of roots to let everyone know I care enough about my looks to add in highlight, I just don’t have the time to get to the salon every 12 weeks. Despite the fact that I looked the part clearly something was leading her to believe I was actually a Nanny. I told the mother that I too was in fact a mother and she was a little surprised. “Oh, I’m sorry. For some reason I thought you were the kids Nanny. I guess because you were playing with the kids.”
I want to say that in that exact instant I knew what separated me from other mom’s at the park but in all honesty, just as often I am those other Mom’s at the park. When I looked around I noticed a lot Mom’s sitting on the benches on their phones while their older kids ran around the park. A few groups of Moms sat with friends who they had clearly pre arranged a meeting with and feverishly chatted with each other trying to fit in as much conversation as possible while the kids were contented. There were the mom’s of infants who groups their little ones together and started casual conversation with the other moms over how old the babies are, what milestones they are hitting and so on. In that moment I realized today I was the anomaly, a Mom who was running around and engaging with the kids like it was my job.
How Much Would You Pay Yourself as a Nanny
That interaction got me to thinking, would we tolerate all our excused parenting behaviors if they came from our children’s caretakers?
Obviously the comparison between Nanny and Mother isn’t entirely fair. We never get to go off the clock. Maybe some of those Moms at the park stay at home with their kids full time, have husbands away and are finding the perfect balance between some well deserved me time while letting their kids enjoy themselves. We all come from different places with different experiences and ultimately there are a million different ways to live. But no matter what your parenting circumstance it doesn’t hurt to do a little self evaluation to see where we can improve. Consider my question our parenting annual review.
Some days we can be such a rock star Mom-mistaken-as-Nanny we should give ourselves a raise. Other times, we are heading to the park in hopes of finding a safe place to ignore the kids for 15 minutes so we can just scroll through our news feed and be in someone else’s moment far away. Ultimately we know it’s not fair to hold ourselves to the same standards that we have for our Nannies, but what if we did? What if instead of trying to grow our IG followers, get a raise at work, or find the perfect outfit for the party on Saturday we took a step back and looked at how we could grow more in our role as parents. What if we used those sometimes very long days with our kids to find ways that we can engage more, play more, and ultimately love more?
Photo Credit: Vogue Italy – Vargaries of Fashion / Miles Aldridge (These photos are so over the top and so disfunction, I am just in love with the spread)